Shaquille O’Neal says banning guns isn’t the easy layup people think.
The retired NBA star, who lives just outside Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were shot and killed on Feb. 14, spoke out about gun control and the call to ban firearms during an appearance on WABC Radio’s “Curtis and Cosby” show.
“The only problem with that is, there’s 15 million of ’em out there already on the streets. And then another problem is if you ban ’em, then you gonna create an underground market, and the gun collectors, you know, it’s gonna become more valuable,” he told host Rita Cosby.
“There’s a lot of those weapons already on the streets. So it’s not like, if you say, okay, these weapons are banned, people are gonna go, ‘ohh man, let me turn it in.’ That’s definitely not going to happen. Cause once you ban ’em, now they’re going to become a collectors’ item and you’re going to have people underground and they were $2,000… I’ll give you $9,000 for that gun. So, you know, we just need to keep our eyes open.”
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O’Neal, who grew up in Newark, N.J., has joined several law enforcement agencies off the basketball court, including the Los Angeles Port Police as a reserve officer and completing training as a Miami Beach reserve officer. In 2016, he was sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia.
Rather than banning guns, the Hall of Famer suggested increasing police presence in schools.
“The government should give law enforcement more money. Give more money, you recruit more people and the guys that are not ready to go on the streets, you put them in front of the schools,” he told WABC.
“You put ’em in front of the schools, you put ’em behind the schools, you put ’em inside the schools and we need to pass information… I would like to see police officers in schools, inner cities, private schools.”
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On the other side of the debate is Dwyane Wade, who won the 2006 NBA Finals with O’Neal and the Heat. The Miami guard and wife Gabrielle Union recently donated $200,000 to the March for Our Lives gun control rally scheduled for March 24.
“I just had a great conversation with some of the students at Stoneman Douglas High School about some important/impactful things that they have planned,” he tweeted last week after visiting the school. “I’m looking forward to being more involved in the change that they WILL create.”
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